Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
At a Glance: An interesting subject to consider, but I’m not sure how much I took away from this story, except that I would definitely need to do a lot more research about asexuality.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Jake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.
Review: Jake Tanner is young guy who works on his own as a farm manager and owns his own place. One day, on his way home, he stops when a dog is in the street and ends up taking her home. He calls the local animal shelter to let them know and a few days later, the owners come to get her. She’s gotten along well with Jake’s dog, but he’s happy to see her home with her elderly owners.
In thanks, the owners invite Jake to dinner at their son’s restaurant/bar, and Jake accepts. While he’s there, a very handsome and intriguing motorcyclist comes in and catches Jake’s eye. He’s quickly off, though, so Jake figures that’s that. There is a beautiful piano there and Jake begins to plan. The owners offer him a job playing on weekends—and everyone loves his playing so he accepts.
Jake is then visited by his friend from Uni, Diane. She’s kicked out her two-timing boyfriend and needs to get away from Brisbane, so arrives on Jake’s doorstep. Of course, Jake takes her in. A few days later the mysterious, gorgeous motorcyclist shows up, and it turns out it’s Diane’s adoptive father, who is barely older than Jake. Clearly Damien is smitten with Jake, but he doesn’t understand Jake’s reluctance for a physical relationship. Jake confirms that he is not straight and that he has had sex, but that is not what interests him. He has trouble articulating what it is he needs, and Damien has a hard time not turning everything into a rejection, which then just makes Jake feel worse. Jake doesn’t have a name for it. He just is who he is.
They decide to see each other on weekends when Damien visits from Brisbane, and their relationship is very much a rollercoaster ride. The closer Jake thinks they are to getting it right, the more rejected Damien feels. Their weekends, which started off so great, begin to become a chore, and Damien can’t seem to get Jake’s boundaries, which also makes him angry—while Jake isn’t closeted, he also doesn’t advertise. Then Damien experiences a crisis that causes Jake to question their whole relationship and if he even wants to try.
Ace is my first book about an asexual character. At times I was as confused as Damien about what Jake needed and where his limits were since he had a hard time articulating them in a way that would be easy to understand by an intimate partner. I’m not sure it was entirely clear what his relationship desires would be or what would be too far since at one point he appears to be repulsed by Damien’s behavior. It’s an interesting subject to consider, but I’m not sure how much I took away from this story, except that I would definitely need to do a lot more research about the topic. At times, I felt like I was sort of just flailing about a bit in this book and trying to read between the lines.
You can buy Ace here: